ALOHA, Ore. – Parents and students flocked to Reedville Elementary School Thursday night for a student showcase. It was an opportunity for the kids to show off what they've learned in the classroom.
Parents like Martha Dominguez, however, are having a tough time showing how proud they are. Instead, her attention is focused on a house that stands just feet from the school's front door.
“I was afraid. I think every parent was concerned about their kid,” Dominguez said.
On Wednesday, parents learned that a halfway house was across the street from Reedville Elementary, and according to a letter that went home to parents, two of the home's residents were sex offenders who shouldn't be living near a school.
“It is concerning the county can allow this to happen, because it's a walking area. A lot of kids don't get transportation in the afternoon," Dominguez said.
Dominguez found a way to explain the situation to her young daughter Jenny. She said her daughter was horrified.
“She was saying ‘I'm afraid to go to school, I don't want to be hurt.’ She started crying and didn't want to get on the bus,” Dominguez said.
That sort of reaction from the school community, coupled with law enforcement's concerns, forced the sex offenders to relocate. The school sent home a second letter Thursday.
“It's a difficult position to be in because obviously we don't have jurisdictional authority over the community or where people are at any given time,” said Beth Graser with the Hillsboro School District.
Parents are relieved the offenders are gone but Dominguez won't be taking her eyes off her daughter anytime soon.
“I'm just going to keep picking her up instead of sending someone else,” she said.
Washington County officials said the men's probation officers had not yet completed a home visit. If they had, the men would have been relocated much earlier.
“It is an unfortunate situation and it is not the type of housing situation that we would have set up, for these offenders to be living across from a school,” said Washington County Community Corrections spokesman Steve Berger.
He said in the most serious cases, officers check the homes to ensure they’re suitable before sex offenders move in. But these offenders were not considered high risk.
KGW reporter Mike Benner contributed to this report.